Synopses & Reviews
This is the inspirational story of how one couple ditched their careers and high-pressure life in New York City to move to rural New Mexico, where they made, built, invented, foraged, and grew all they needed to live self-sufficiently, discovering a new sense of value and abundance in the process. Alongside their personal story are tips and tutorials to guide readers in the discovery of a fulfilling new lifestyle that relies less on money. Tremayne wholeheartedly believes that everyone has the skill, imagination and creativity to make it work.
Tremayne not only teaches the art of making biofuel, appliances, structures, gardens, food, and medicine but also presents reasons for makers to share their innovations and ideas through open source and creative commons licenses. She shares the joys of creating out of waste, home manufacture, and reconnecting with nature, and she teaches readers how to live off the grid. Practical, contemplative, and action-oriented, The Good Life Lab is the manual for life in a post-consumer age.
In addition, The Good Life Lab is filled with illustrations contributed by a community of artists — Alethea Morrison, Allegra Lockstadt, Andrew Saeger, Bert van Wijk, Christopher Silas Neal, Gina Triplett, Grady McFerrin, Joel Holland, Josh Cochran, Julia Rothman, Kate Bingaman Burt, Katie Scott, Kristian Olson, Mattias Adolfsson, Meg Hunt, Melinda Beck, Miyuki Sakai, Rachel Salomon, and Sasha Prood — making the book itself a work of art.
"Wendy and Mikey set out to find a state of happiness that could not be bought with dollar bills. By trial and error, with faith and vision, they built a new life, a life of work and play and celebration under the vast desert sky. This fascinating book tells their story." Pir Zia Inayat-Khan, PhD, president of the Sufi Order International, author of Saracen Chivalry: Counsels on Valor, Generosity, and the Mystical Quest
"An invitation to experiment on your own and try to live a life of your own making. It'll be messy, imperfect, and a lot more fun." Dale Dougherty, founding editor and publisher of Make magazine, co-creator of Maker Faire
"Practical information guides you through a remarkably varied range of do-it-yourself projects, including building with papercrete, plastic welding, and fermenting your own kombucha, kimchi, and tempeh." Sandor Ellix Katz, author of Wild Fermentation, The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved, and The Art of Fermentation
"This rollicking, inspiring tale of Tremayne's journey from being the creative director of N.Y.C. marketing firm Green Galactic to being a Burning Man volunteer, yoga teacher, Sufi seeker, and hardscrabble DIY urban homesteader in a former trailer park in the eccentric community of Truth or Consequences, N. Mex., is alternately funny, tender, philosophical, and practical....Illustrated with whimsically florid drawings by a variety of artists and interspersed with essential how-tos for living 'life in the waste stream' — from fermenting tempeh and brewing mead, to building a papercrete dome and removing rust from wrenches with electrolysis — the memoir riffs off Scott and Helen Nearing's 1954 Living the Good Life with much more style and humor than the original, bringing the back-to-the-land genre up to date with impressive sophistication and appeal." Publisher's Weekly
Tired of the high-pressure life they lead in New York City, Wendy Jehanara Tremayne and her husband migrate to Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, where they build, invent, forage, and grow all they need for themselves. Full of quirky stories and imaginative illustrations, this inspiring memoir chronicles the off-the-grid adventures of the Tremaynes. Touchingly personal while also providing practical tutorials on making your own biofuel, building an efficient house, and gardening sustainably, The Good Life Lab will encourage you to chase your dreams of self-sufficiency.
About the Author
Wendy Tremayne was a creative director in a marketing firm in New York City before moving to Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, where she built an off-the-grid oasis in a barren RV park with her partner, Mikey Sklar. She is the founder of the textile repurposing event Swap-O-Rama-Rama, which has spread all over the world; a conceptual artist; a yogi; a gardener; and a writer. She has written for Craft's webzine and Make magazine and, with Mikey Sklar, keeps the blog Holy Scrap.
Table of Contents
Part I: Life Imagined
Life in the Waste Stream
Jump and the Net Will Appear
Broken Heart Seeks Giant Band-Aid
To Live a Decommodified Life
Everything Is a Tool to Change the World
Nature Is the Truest Book
Ladybugs in New York City
What Is the Cost of a Job?
The Sky Is the Ocean
Part II: Life Hands On
Makers of Shelter
Building in Truth or Consequences
Things of Value
The Notorious Goblins
The Cost of Living
Getting Better All the Time
The Digital Homestead
The Least Useful Most Fun Thing
A Cottage Industry
Part III: Life Lab
Power, Electronics, and Technology
Cars and Fuel
Epilogue: Make Mistakes